SOLOMON BUILDS THE TEMPLE
1 Kings 5:1-18; 6:1-38; 8:1, 10-11, 54-61; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20
Memory verse: Psalm 127:1
"Unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labor in vain."
Talk about powerful things that demand our respect, such as nuclear bombs. Talk about controlled power like that of dynamite used to bring down huge buildings. Mention that explosives are also used to break up huge rocks during road construction. There is a lot of power in explosives.
Explain that God is powerful-more powerful than anyone or anything, including the best explosives and bombs. By His Word He made everything. He has always existed. He is everywhere at the same time. He knows all things. He is all-powerful. God controls this universe He created. He is definitely worthy of our respect!
We can show our respect for God by honouring His house, our church. We respect God by coming to His house each week to worship Him and learn of Him. Inform the students today they will learn about a king who built a special place for God. Tell them to listen to find out the most important thing about this place.
Hearing God's Word
King Solomon was the wisest man ever to live. Solomon was also a man of peace. Because he was not a warrior, he was chosen to do a special project for God.
Building Involves Details
Ask: "Have you ever watched a house being built in your neighbourhood? (Allow response.) It doesn't happen overnight. Building a home involves following a blueprint and paying attention to details. A lot must be remembered in order for the building project to go smoothly.
Building a Church Is a Big Job, Too
Ask: "What are some details that would need to be taken care of before a church building would be ready for people to come for services?" (Allow discussion.)
First, church members must have enough money to pay for the project. A blueprint must be drawn to show how the building should look, workers must be hired, and materials bought. Everyone who will work on the project must know what his job will be so the church will be built correctly.
When King Solomon began building a temple for God, he faced this situation. God had given Solomon's father David the building plans several year before. Now it was time to begin the construction.
Solomon Makes Preparations
Solomon wanted this temple to be built exactly as God wanted it. Every detail was to be worked out with great care. To do this, Solomon needed help. He began selecting the best workers and materials he could find.
Solomon first needed cedar and fir trees for lumber. But these trees did not grow in Israel. So Solomon asked King Hiram of Tyre to help him get the wood he needed.
Solomon offered to send some of his own workers to help cut down the trees and bring them back to Jerusalem. The wood would be shipped down the Mediterranean coast and then carried across land to Jerusalem. This would take a lot of time, work, and money, but Solomon knew it was necessary to build the temple correctly.
Everyone's Help Is Needed
God gives each of us special abilities to work for Him. Sometimes our abilities may not seem special or important to us, but doing what we can is very important to God. When we do our part, the whole job is a lot easier. If King Hiram had refused to help, Solomon would have had a hard time building the temple.
(Ask a volunteer to read 2 Chronicles 2:7.) A lot of people were needed to do other special jobs for the temple. Each one was hired to do the thing he knew best. No one can do everything by himself. In order for any group to be successful, everyone must work together in a spirit of co-operation and help each other. Each person has different talents and abilities. When we find something we particularly like to do or are good at, we should become the best we can be at that job.
When Solomon was finally ready to build the temple, he had quite an army of workers. (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 5:13,15,16.) There were 183,300 workers involved in the giant project. That's a lot of manpower. But in those days there were no modern power tools or large machines to do the heavy work. Almost everything was done by hand.
The Temple Is Completed
It took the workers 7 years to build the magnificent temple. It wasn't a huge building when it was finished. It measured 30 metres long, 10 metres wide, and 15 metres high. (If possible, compare those dimensions with the size of your church building. This will help the students visualize the size of the temple.) But Solomon's Temple wasn't built for a congregation of people. Only the priests worked in the temple. It was their job to bring the people's sacrifices to God. A large auditorium and classrooms were unnecessary because the people met in the courtyards outside the temple.
Solomon's Temple may have lacked in size, but it didn't lack in beauty. It was more beautiful than we can imagine. Inside, designs were carved in the cedar panel and overlaid with pure gold. In fact, just about everything in the temple was covered with gold. Each item had been designed and put together by talented craftsmen. Solomon employed only the most skilled workers and used only the very best raw materials. He wanted the temple to be perfect because it was built for God himself.
Can you imagine how excited the Israelites must have been as they watched the beautiful temple being built?
Now they would have a special place of worship where all of them could bring their sacrifices to God. Years before, when the Israelites were in the wilderness, they worshiped in a tabernacle, or tent church. It had to be take down and carried wherever the Israelites went. But now for the first time they had a permanent building where they could worship God. Before Solomon finished the temple, God spoke to him. What did He say? (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 6:11-13.)
God wanted to be sure Solomon knew why he was building the temple. It wasn't to be just another beautiful building for everyone to admire. It was to be the house of God. But in order for God to honour the temple, Solomon and all Israel would have to keep God's laws and commandments. God wanted to be sure the temple was being built for the right reason.
Our memory verse this week says, "Unless the Lord builds the house, its builders labour in vain." (Psalm 127:1). God wanted to make this fact clear to His people. (Repeat the verse together with the students.) Unless God's presence was there, the temple would simply be a beautiful empty building. God wanted it to be much more.
God's Presence Fills The Temple
When the temple was finally completed, Solomon gathered all the leaders of Israel together at Jerusalem. It was time to dedicate the new temple to God. While the people were worshipping, a wonderful thing happened. (Ask a student to read 1 Kings 8:10,11.)
The priest withdrew from the Holy Place, a very special room of the temple where only the priests could enter, and God's presence, in the form of a cloud, filled the temple. God's presence was so strong in the temple, the priests could not go back inside to continue their priestly duties.
Can you imagine how exciting this must have been for Solomon and all the people? They knew God was pleased with the temple. God's presence made the temple complete.
At the end of the dedication, Solomon prayed that all people everywhere would know God is the one true God. Solomon challenged the people to dedicate their lives to God and always obey His laws and commandments. Their obedience would tell others that God is the only true God and that His presence dwells with those who obey Him.
Our Church Today
We are privileged to have a place where we can come and worship God. Our church building may not be made of gold, but it is still a special place where we should be able to feel God's presence. Since our church has been set aside for God, we should respect it.
When we as Christians gather together to worship, God's presence fills our church. If we come to church with the wrong attitudes in our hearts, God's presence cannot fill the church. It will then become just another building where people gather. No matter how pretty it may be on the outside, it is worthless. Its builders have laboured in vain. (Review the memory verse.)
We Are God's Temple
God's Word also says we are temples of the Holy Spirit. (Have a student read 1 Corinthians 6:19.) God's presence comes to live inside us when we ask Jesus to be our Saviour. We are like a temple in that way. That is why we should respect and care for our bodies as temples of the Holy Spirit. We should honour God with our bodies by not smoking, taking drugs, or living immorally.
Are you a temple where God dwells? God wants to live within every person. He will come to live within you if you will let Him.
Accepting God's Word
God wants to meet with us. He is not an impersonal force out in space. He is a personal, present God who wants to have a daily relationship with us.
Explain God's plan of salvation. Then ask if there are any students who want to receive Jesus.
One Hausa's Conversion
My friend, Yohanna, told me of his brother who lived about 50 kilometres away. His farm was far from any town. He was an unbeliever, but Yohanna thought that if the two of us would visit him and share the gospel, he would accept Jesus as his Savior. We set a date for the trip.
The journey to visit Yohanna's brother began on a paved highway, then a dirt road, ending with a 5-kilometre walk. As we began our trek, 4 young boys agreed to carry our bags, cots, and supplies. We passed through a couple of villages and arrived at the brother's compound. He was so happy to see us! He boiled eggs and served tea; his wife began preparing a meal for us. As the food was cooking, we walked through his field of sorghum, beans and other vegetables. He was a good farmer.
We set up our cots under a large mango tree. Later that evening, under the stars, we testified to God's saving grace in our lives. I asked the brother, if he, too, would like to know Jesus Christ as his personal Savior. He said, "Yes" and we all knelt as he invited Jesus into his life.
The next day we made the return trip to our home. About 6-months later, Yohanna came to my house to share the news concerning the death of his brother. One morning, he had a pain in his stomach and by evening he had died. We were saddened by the news, but rejoiced that one more Hausa had gone home to heaven and an eternity with Jesus.
REMEMBER TO PRAY!
Pray for Hausa Trainers
1. Believers in Christ Jesus to see the need to disciple (train) new Hausa converts.
2. The Hausa Bible to be made available to all new believers either in hard copy or on the Internet.
3. New believers established in a house church or a regular Hausa-speaking church.
"I have become its servant (the church) by the commission God gave me (apostle Paul) to present to you the word of God in its fullness" (Colossians 1:25).
Study 7 | God's Character/O.T. Kings | africaatts.org/go-teach